Have you ever walked into an arcade, looking for your favorite game that you always play and once you find it plop in some quarters/tokens to find that one of the buttons don’t work? Or The joystick doesn’t work when pushed in a certain direction? Or maybe the sound doesn’t work? Sometimes you can tell that a game is broken by simply looking at it when the monitor is out of sync or discolored. Either way it doesn’t matter which one of these situations you encounter, it creates a bad experience, especially if you play a 2 player game and it’s only your side that happens to malfunction. Now sometimes players might forgive it if it happens with only one game but what if several games are out of order in some fashion to the point that it feels that half of the arcade is down? Have any of you had this experience? I have and it is quite irritating. In fact I haven’t visited one local arcade in months because my last visit there felt like a total waste of money and since it wasn’t the first time I had such an experience at that particular place, I was fed up with it. I checked out another arcade and it was nearly the same story.
Now am I the only person that experience’s something this annoying at their local arcade? Sadly no. If you look around the internet you’ll find others that have had similar experiences. In fact if you have, feel free to comment to this post.
Now understand that I am not trying to be anti-operator here. As an operator I understand that it can be a challenge to do such work – techs capable of repairing machines are hard to find and generally are expensive to pay. Most of the employees hired to arcades are unskilled with electronics and as an operator yourself you may not have the time nor expertise to fix the games. But consider this : what impression are your customers leaving with if most of your arcade is not functioning? Do you even know if your games are broken? People don’t not enjoy being ripped off and that is exactly what happens when a broken game is left on the floor unlabeled. And they will not come back. No customers = no sales = closed arcade. It seems that some operators simply don’t care about the upkeep of the machines as unsuspecting suckers will put money in regardless of the condition of the game. One thing is guaranteed however – you will loose customers over broken games. The games are part of an arcade’s life blood. It may not be the primary attraction depending on the type of arcade you run but if they are part of your business at all and you are going to bother to have them, they should be well maintained. Otherwise broken games will cost you more than it would to not fix them in lost sales. If you are already on top of this issue and you do everything you can to keep your games fixed then congratulations.
Continue reading by hitting the post break where you can also feel free to share ideas if you own an arcade and have had success in maintaining a good arcade.
Some useful points in maintaining your arcade even if it is difficult/expensive to do so. I don’t claim to have all the answers or best suggestions so feel free to comment below on things you have found that helps.
1. Find out what is broken and do it often – One thing your employees can be useful for in maintainance is testing. It should not be difficult to get them to go out and play the games and find problems. How it can be done is up to you but however it is done it should be organized. Certain games can be assigned to certain employees so they are familiar with the games and they should have something to write down the issues they discover with. It could be done everyday or once a week. Either way it should be done often.
2. Train trusted employees to fix simple problems – If you have a few employees it is likely that a one or more of them are people you trust enough to open up the games, you might have even given them a key. If that’s the case then they can be trained to fix simple problems such as button malfunctions, loose cables, etc. Most likely they already know how to take care of something like a jammed coin mech. Not sure how to fix these problems yourself, get your tech to train them or perhaps make an investment into Randy Fromm’s videos. If employees can fix the simple stuff then that leaves the tech to take care of the more complicated problems.
3. If a game has a serious problem, label it or shut it down – if you are unable to get a game fixed right away then it should be labeled as out of order or turned off ASAP. People feel cheated if they put their tokens into a game they believe is working and it turns out that it isn’t. If it happens more than once to the same customer they will feel burnt out and not come back.
4. Keep track of the games that have the most problems – this is fairly obvious and is done by many arcades already. If certain games constantly cause problems, it might mean that it’s time to sell off the game or at least find out why it has so many issues.
5. Can’t find a tech, check with your local distributor – Some distributors offer tech services for a fee (which can vary). If you are having trouble finding a tech, see if you can get one to come out to your place of business from your local distributor. If you have several distributors in the area that offer such services, shop around and find the best price.
Have more suggestions? Let us know!